A Century of FilmScreen Shot 2021-01-23 at 2.28.05 PM

Film History

1940-1949

Filmmaking had supposedly peaked in 1939 just as the war arrived to greatly limit (outside of America, film production was massively down) and influence it (in America, War films took the forefront).  After the war concluded, came the two lawsuits that changed the way of films in America.  First came de Havilland vs. Warner Bros. Pictures which altered the notion of what a studio could put in a contract.  Second came United States vs. Paramount Pictures which meant that production studios would have to sell off their theater chains.  The first hastened the end of the way films were made in the Studio Era while the second altered how they were distributed and brought an to the end to the concept of the “majors” as they had been known. (more…)

"Spade by means of his grip on the Levantine's lapels turned him slowly and pushed him back until he was standing close in front of the chair he had lately occupied.  A puzzled look replaced the look of pain in the lead-colored face.  Then Spade smiled."  (p 46)

“Spade by means of his grip on the Levantine’s lapels turned him slowly and pushed him back until he was standing close in front of the chair he had lately occupied. A puzzled look replaced the look of pain in the lead-colored face. Then Spade smiled.” (p 46)

My Top 10:

  1. The Maltese Falcon
  2. The Little Foxes
  3. Here Comes Mr. Jordan
  4. The Devil and Daniel Webster
  5. High Sierra
  6. How Green Was My Valley
  7. Hold Back the Dawn
  8. Meet John Doe
  9. Suspicion
  10. Pépé le Moko

Note:  I have a Top 10, but unlike 1940, my list doesn’t go any further than that. (more…)

A couple of very deserving Oscar winners from 1948 - a happy father and son.

A couple of very deserving Oscar winners from 1948 – a happy father and son.

Introduction:

This is a companion piece to three different series.  The first is The History of the Academy Awards, in which I covered each category in individual posts.  This was originally done in 2009 and additions were included in 2010.  You can find links to all of these pieces in each individual category.  I have grouped all of the categories together for the same reason that I did so originally – because most pieces on the Oscars don’t approach the awards through the categories, but through the years.  This specific piece is designed to take a closer look at the decade (with a couple of extra years, since there was no point in doing a separate piece on the first two years of the Oscars) and how I think the Academy did in those years.

The second series is my Year in Film series.  That is mentioned here because in those pieces I included paragraphs about the Oscars as a whole for each year and included a considerable amount of trivia.  Since I had based my Year in Film series and eligibility as such on the Academy calendar, it all seemed very relevant.  Also, starting in 1930-31, I started including various prizes (Worst Oscar, Worst Nomination, Worst Omission, etc) and I didn’t want to repeat myself, so following the links will bring you there.  Those links are at the end of this piece, where I do a brief summation of each year and how the Academy did.

The third series is my History of the Academy Awards: Best Picture series, where I reviewed every film ever nominated for Best Picture (except The Patriot, which is lost).  Those links are also down below, grouped by year. (more…)

Just read pages 360-62 of Kavalier and Clay and that says it all.

Just read pages 360-62 of Kavalier and Clay and that says it all.

You can read more about this year in film here.  The Best Picture race is discussed here, with reviews of all the nominees.  First there are the categories, followed by all the films with their nominations, then the Globes, where I split the major awards by Drama and Comedy, followed by a few lists at the very end.  If there’s a film you expected to see and didn’t, check the very bottom – it might be eligible in a different year.  Films in red won the Oscar in that category.  Films in blue were nominated.  The Academy made only one change in this year, but it was a needed one – changing the two Score categories from Score and Original Score to Scoring of a Dramatic Picture and Scoring of a Musical Picture.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. Citizen Kane
  2. The Maltese Falcon
  3. Fantasia
  4. The Lady Eve
  5. The Little Foxes

Analysis:  This is, in a sense, precisely how it should be – all five of these films are **** films and the next one on the list (High Sierra) isn’t.  It kills me, though, that The Maltese Falcon has to be in the same year as Citizen Kane.  They’ll be more on that down under points. (more…)

the dancing mushrooms in Fantasia - the best animated film of the 1940's

Well, before I go into 1949, I’ll cover the decade as a whole.  Bear in mind the decade awards cover films by their original release date, so you might find films that haven’t shown up in individual years yet.

1940  –  1949

Total Films I’ve Seen:  617

Films That Make the Top 5 in a Category:  42

Best Film Not to Make the Top 5 in any Category:  The Best Years of Our Lives

Film of the Decade:  Children of Paradise

Worst Film of the Decade:  King of the Zombies

Worst Best Picture Nominee of the Decade:  All This and Heaven Too

Worst Film of the Decade Made by a Top 100 Director:  Under Capricorn (more…)

The mining family in How Green Was My Valley (1941)

The 14th Academy Awards, for the film year 1941.  The nominations were announced on February 3, 1942 and the awards were held on February 26, 1942.

Best Picture:  How Green Was My Valley

  • Citizen Kane
  • The Maltese Falcon
  • The Little Foxes
  • Here Comes Mr. Jordan
  • Suspicion
  • Hold Back the Dawn
  • One Foot in Heaven
  • Sergeant York
  • Blossoms in the Dust

Most Surprising Omission:  Ball of Fire

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  Fantasia

Rank (out of 82) Among Best Picture Years:  #57 (more…)

My Top 10:

A perfect example of Gregg Toland's deep-focus cinematography in Citizen Kane, keeping both Orson Welles and Joseph Cotten in focus.

  1. Citizen Kane
  2. The Maltese Falcon
  3. Fantasia
  4. The Lady Eve
  5. Suspicion
  6. High Sierra
  7. Ball of Fire
  8. How Green Was My Valley
  9. The Little Foxes
  10. Pepe le Moko (more…)